Neuromuscular disease (NMD) is the umbrella name given for a variety of conditions, especially diseases that affect the functioning of muscles. The associated reason for the deterioration of muscle functioning could be due to the weakening of the muscles, or the muscle-controlling nerves. Neuromuscular disorders can be classified as rapidly progressing and slowly progressing NMD. In rapidly progressive disorders, muscle impairment occurs over months whereas it takes years for symptoms to become prominent in the case of slowly progressive disorder.
Respiratory failure is one of the most common causes of mortality among patients due to chronic NMD. It occurs as a result of the insufficient exchange of gasses by the respiratory system. In other words, the respiratory illness due to NMD leads to an imbalance of arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in a patient's respiratory system. In some cases, NMD could also be linked to central sleep-disordered breathing, especially during rapid eye movement phase of the sleep.